June’s Alternate Birthstone: Alexandrite
Where is Alexandrite Mined?
Just as we featured December’s alternate birthstone, we thought we would expand on the exquisite and rare alternate gem of June! Along with the illustrious pearl, alexandrite is considered a birthstone of June and is described as ‘emerald by day and ruby by night’ because of its incredible color-changing aspect in different light. This stone was originally discovered and mined in Russia but is now mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka and East Africa so although those are far from our Gilbert home, we have been fortunate to see some alexandrite jewelry over the years.
Brief Alexandrite Background
The gem’s name is considered to come from the Russian Czar Alexander II. Russian legends describe the alexandrite gems as being carriers of good luck, fortune and love to whomever owns the stone. Some of the largest pieces of alexandrite can be found in Imperial Russian jewelry but nowadays it is uncommon to find alexandrite in any large size. Fine alexandrite is very rare and more valuable than blue sapphire, emerald and ruby when it’s larger than 1 carat. In fact, the largest cut alexandrite gemstone is housed in the Smithsonian Institution and weighs only 66 carats as compared to the largest diamond which is 530 carats!
The Color Range of Alexandrite
This June birthstone is noted as one of the rarest of all colored gemstones available today. First, because of its brilliant light reflection which makes it change colors in different light and secondly, because there is limited availability of the gem. The color is usually described as green in daylight and red under incandescent light. This color change is called the ‘alexandrite effect’ and is caused by the absorption of light in the blue and yellow parts of the color spectrum. Other rarer colors of alexandrite include purplish to pink and yellow intonations and in very rare cases will show a cat’s eye effect when cut a certain way.
We enjoy sharing these fun facts with you and if you ever have any gemstone related questions about your jewelry or how to properly care for certain birthstones, call or come visit our Gilbert showroom so we can help!